A Disaster... So I thought...

One day I decided that I would challenge my 1st grade students with a lesson I had not done before with this age group. 
Symmetrical Ghosts with positive/negative space
I said I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I don't think I was quite prepared for what I ended up with. By the end of the period I rushed the kids to finish out of sheer frustration of the numerous questions I was asked. I just couldn't understand why they didn't get it. I was so tired of hearing my name at the end of the period, I could have screamed. While leaving for bus duty I took this parting shot.
After bus duty I had some time to cool down. Like I'm sure we have all gone through, I realized the problem was not the students but me. I was wiped by that time in the week and with all the "wedding stuff" I'd had to do, I really didn't need to try something new without preparation.... but I was bored and went against my better judgment and did it anyway. 
When I was finally able to look through their work, I was surprised. I don't know what blinders I had on during the class.... But they got it! In their own way... but they got it! I just didn't take the time to explain every step (hence all the questions) but by the time I had answered all of them... "By George they got it!" Take a look

notice the violet and black one :)

Majority, got it... 
The reason for this post was to show myself that you should never be unprepared. If you are, then be prepared for the frustration and take what you get. Don't ever come down on your students for something that is not their fault. 9 times out of 10 it was something that you could have done better. And never give yourself more than you can handle. 

Art Sub Plans

I hate being gone because you feel there is 10x more to do when you get back. I hate that feeling of "Oh no! I need to call so and so to have them set stuff out for my sub!" if you weren't prepared to be out. I hate keeping track of what plan this or that class did and making sure not to do the same activity twice. I hate searching for handouts and making copies for sub plans. I hate the "sub tub" because half the time even when I sat it out in my chair the sub never looked at it. I hate, I hate, I HATE!!!

So I made an easy "leave it on the desk" sub plan.
All you need is a folder, page dividers, your plans printed out, and a routine already established.
Before I begin, let me say some of you are not going to want to try this plan. As I stated above, you need a routine already established with your classes. My plan is simple and it is a routine that my Pre-K and Kindergarten classes already do and what my 1st - 4th grade classes do each time they finish a project. 

I bought a plastic folder that I hope will last FOREVER and I have it clearly labeled. It sits under my plan book on my desk at all times. When I pack up my plan book at the end of the day the sub book is sitting on my desk ready to go if need be.
My dividers are set up in the following order:
Procedures and Rules
Pre-K and K
1st - 4th 

Below is a link to my EXACT plans. Feel free to use them and change them up to your liking. 

Check out my pinterest board here for sub plans I've pinned! 


    Wild and Wacky Lions!

    The inspiration for this lesson came from Deep Space Sparkle's Wild Wacky Hair lesson. Last year we did this lesson just as it appears on D.S.S., but this year I wanted to again follow our "Wild About Art" theme.
    5th grade was studying the 5 types of LINE: Vertical, Horizontal, Diagonal, Curvy, and Zig-zag.
    The line lesson doesn't usually excite the 5th grades, until I unveiled the project example. One student was so excited that he yelled out, "Oh, we're gonna make his mane out of lines!! COOL!"
    I like to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary (anyone recognize that phrase?)

    We began with a simple line drawing of the lion's face in pencil.
    Face: Oval 
    Eyes: Smiley face with a Sad face on top, parentheses ( ) with a vertical line
    Cheeks: two Circles the same size at the bottom connecting in the middle
    Nose: a bridge to connect the top of the cheeks, and to show the depth of the face add two lines that are backward parentheses ) ( to connect from the side of the nose to the inside of the eye. 
    Mouth: smiley face and smiley face connecting the bottom of the cheeks and upside  down triangles for teeth. 
    Ears: half Circles with little half Circles inside (add some zig-zag lines for fight marks)

    Then, use all five types of line for the mane.

    Trace over all pencil lines with a black oil pastel.

    Complete with watercolor paint. 


    Wedding Pictures!!

    Feel free to click on the link to see some of my wedding pictures from the wonderful Sarah B. Gilliam. I love her artistic flair! 


    On Vacation

    I will be taking a break from blogging for a week or two.
    I'm getting married this weekend and will be gone on my honeymoon. 
    It will also be some much needed time away from work.
    Keep checking back!
    Becca Ruth

    Here is a sneak peak of Wild and Wacky Lions!


    Sometimes Not Being the Teacher is Fun Too!

    For my bachelorette party we went to Sips N Strokes, a very popular one night painting class in the South. We were a private group and got to choose the painting we wanted to do. I chose the "Funky Tree" as it is a theme of my wedding. It was so much fun watching members of my family and close friends getting so into their paintings. (I didn't know my Mom could paint!) Best of all...
    I wasn't the one teaching! 

    Here's my master piece!


    Top Art Class Teacher Blog!?!

    I am floored and thankful! My blog was voted one of the Top Art Class Teacher Blogs in the South Region by Teacher Salary info Blog!
    Thank you followers!!


    Piet Mondrian Animals

    We are continuing our "Wild About Art" theme with artist Piet Mondrian!
    Students critiqued Mondrian's work using our "Art Talk" questions based on 
    Describing, Analyzing, Interpreting, and Making Judgments.
    Most students thought Mondrian's work was boring. I told them we would make them a bit more exciting. 
    Then I introduced our "Mondrian Animals" lesson which I found in Arts and Activities Magazine.

    Materials: white 12"x18" drawing paper, pencils, rulers, tempera paint in yellow, red, and blue, black sharpies, Red, Yellow, and Blue 12"x18" construction paper, scissors, and glue

    Drawing the animal
    I made copies of one of my "How to Draw Animals" book and set them on each table. Because students could choose their own animal, I was not going to be able to instruct how to draw each one. I was leery at first, but the third graders' drawings were awesome!
    Rulers were used to create Mondrian's straight vertical and horizontal lines

    We used Red, Yellow, and Blue tempera paint and students were allowed to leave white spaces as Mondrian did.

    When the painting was complete, students traced their drawing and lines with a black sharpie. I had the students put mats under their papers so the marker wouldn't bleed through to the table. 
    The paintings were cut out and glued to the student's choice of paper. Either red, yellow, or blue. 


    Art Grades!?!

       My first year of teaching I didn't think much of grades for elementary art. I was just trying to survive my first year coming into my new career in JANUARY! Art is unique in every child. Not everyone can sing, and not everyone can draw. How can you grade them? So I graded effort. Though, I wanted my students to see that this class was more than just something "fun", but something worth knowing. I thought long and hard about it. 
       I gained a better focus after stumbling upon an old article that I had copied and pasted without looking at what publication source it came from (sorry). The author of the insert, however, is someone very dear to me. He was one of my college professors, Dr. Lon Nuell. Perhaps some of you Tennessee people have heard of him. He was a major figure for art education in TN and also to the Murfreesboro City School System. He was quoted on his view on grades in elementary art by saying...

    First, children's work should not be graded.
    Next, if you must grade to satisfy the school or system, consideration 
must be given to the essential facts of the lesson.......the concepts or 
content you taught because you wanted them to develop some basic 
understanding of certain art-related ideas. Grade them on the basis of 
the degree to which they understand (or don't understand the material). 
If you teach a skill, evaluate (grade) on the basis of how well they 
handle that skill, but on the basis of each individual (since they will 
all be unique developmentally at the lower grades, and have varying 
abilities, still at the upper end of the 6th grade).
    What you cannot grade is the content of the child's work (unless you 
taught pattern and it was to be included in the work)...but even then 
keep in mind that the child's image or object comes from a developing 
imagination and intelligence which is wholly unique, and which cannot be 
marked with a meaningful grade....that is one that is meaningful to the 
child. - Dr. Lon Nuell

       Dr. Nuell passed away during my senior year right before student teaching. He helped me find my way to art education, and many more times through those tough college years. He is greatly missed among many.
      So from his inspiration and Dr. Sickler-Voigt; who might ring my neck for even wondering what to do about grades when she taught me so well how to create a rubric, I created rubrics.

    Here is the sample of the Grade Log students 2nd - 6th keep in their portfolios: (Our school system has adopted the grades for Art as follows: E - Extraordinary S - Satisfactory U - Unsatisfactory)
    Art Grade Log
    E - Student exceeds lesson objectives
    S - Student meets lesson objectives
    U - Student approaches, but does not meet lesson objectives
    Assignment                                          Grade
    Jackson Pollock Painting              E
    Name Aliens                                        S+
    Wild Wacky Lions                            E

    Students record their own grades each time the projects are handed back and place it into the portfolio. Parents can view the portfolios and grade logs anytime they come by. The students are proud to record their grades.

    Here is an example of a project rubric for 6th grade's Abstracts

    E…….Student exceeds lesson objectives  12 - 9 points
    S…….Student meets lesson objectives  8 - 5 points
    U……Student approaches but does not meet lesson objectives  5 - 4 points
    Assignment: Abstract in oil pastel

    TSW: Create an Abstract work of art by following the directions given from the Abstract Exercise.
    Points earned:  3     2     1
    TSW:  Outline their marks with white oil pastel for a sharper look.
    Points earned:  3     2     1
    TSW: Use oil pastels to create more lines, shapes, and colors in their Abstract. 
    Points earned:  3     2     1
    TSW: Use their best craftsmanship. 
    Points earned:  3     2     1
    TOTAL POINTS EARNED:              GRADE:            

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